November 26, 2014


Medical marijuana ballot initiative short on signatures

John Pardee of the Ohio Rights Group discusses efforts to get a medical marijuana issue on the November ballot. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group, discusses efforts to get a medical marijuana issue on the November ballot. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

AMHERST — Medical marijuana won’t make the November ballot this year.

The Ohio Rights Group, the organization behind the drive to put a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana and industrial hemp before voters in the fall, wasn’t able to gather the necessary signatures before today’s deadline, said John Pardee, the group’s president.

Pardee, who lives in Amherst, said volunteers got between 120,000 and 130,000 registered voters to sign the petition, far short of the required 385,247 signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

But Pardee said the signature gathering efforts weren’t in vain. Valid signatures can be used in the future.

Matt McClellan, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said theoretically the signatures never expire, but the longer they linger, the better chance they would become invalid. For instance, if a registered voter moves between when he signed and when the signatures are turned in, that person would have to sign a second time using his new address.

Pardee said he estimates the Ohio Rights Group ultimately will need to get between 450,000 and 500,000 voters to sign to have enough valid signatures to get the amendment placed on the ballot.

He said he’s hopeful that enough signatures can be gathered in time to get the measure before voters in November 2015.

Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo, a Democrat who’s been working on the effort to legalize medical marijuana, said if not next year then 2016 is a possibility as well.

But Pardee said he’s not sure the Ohio Rights Group would have the funding to get its message out effectively two years from now.

“Trying to mount a campaign in a presidential year in a battleground state is going to be cost prohibitive,” he said.

Both Kalo and Pardee said that despite falling short this year, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The problem, they said, is that they weren’t able to generate the interest in those who have backed marijuana legalization pushes elsewhere in the country.

“We have a real shot of being viable in 2015 if we continue our momentum and start attracting some benefactors,” Pardee said.

He said it’s virtually impossible to gather the requisite number of signatures in Ohio without hiring a company to make a concerted effort to do so.

Pardee also said he’s hopeful that the Ohio legislature will take steps toward legalization. He called doing away with the prohibition on industrial hemp “a no-brainer” and has had some encouraging discussions regarding a possible medical marijuana initiative coming out of Columbus.

But he also said he’s not looking for the highly restrictive medical marijuana measures some states have experimented with. If the legislature does approve a medical marijuana program, he said it needs to be structured in such a way that those who need the medication will have access to it.

Pardee’s son, Jason, turned to medical marijuana following a near-fatal 2008 car crash in Florida in which his pelvis was broken. The younger Pardee, who now grows marijuana in California, described himself previously as a “medical refugee.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • Pablo Jones

    How surprising, the people that want marijuana lack the ambition to go out and sign up.

    Food for thought.
    We have to shut down coal power plants, losing jobs, tax revenue, and affordable energy, because particulate matter from them cause serious health issues at several parts per million (or billion depending on what particles they are looking at).
    Yet smoking marijuana, which results in 100,000 times the particulate matter of the power plant air should be legalized for health reasons.

    • TruthWhisperer

      Im sure you have a peer reviewed source to back up that claim, Right?

      • Pablo Jones


        • TruthWhisperer

          This would be the time you actually post them

          • Pablo Jones

            Are you just testing me or do you really want to know?

          • Pablo Jones

            The average particulate matter in the air for our area is roughly 10 ug/m3. In a 20 minute period of time you will inhail about 100 liters of air. That means your exposure PM from power plants, cars, & trucks is roughly 1 ug.

            Smoking a cigarette exposes your lungs to 10,000-40,000 ug of pm in roughly the same period of time and the same volume of air.

            Marijuana produces 3.5-4.5 times the amount of pm for the same amount of tobacco. (no filter, more tar, deeper breathes, holding it in, etc.)

            Total pm from MJ 35,000 – 180,000 ug vs. 1 ug from power plants that we must shut down.


            National Research Council. Environmental tobacco smoke: measuring exposures and assessing health effects.

            Power plant emissions: Particulate matter-related health damages.

            Effects of Marijuana smoke

          • Starryeyes63

            He will NO read source and will accuse you of Copying & pasting. He is NOTHING but a troll.

          • Pablo Jones

            Oh probably. But it isn’t just for him it is for everyone else as well.

            And as a bonus everyone will know he got put in his place and he will too.

          • Starryeyes63

            True but he will still claim victory, I have seen him say Republican blocked Black & women voting when history shows it was blocked by demoncrats.

          • Matthew Baldauf

            You are still comparing direct exposure of a consenting adult to something they are personally doing to a coal power plant pumping out carcinogens 24 hours a day for all people to breath in, smokers and non smokers alike. And im really getting tired of this “lets stay in one spot to save jobs” guess what! Jobs become obsolete. One day we are gping to be out of coal period, and no amount of bitching is going to keep those plants open at that point.

          • Starryeyes63

            And what type of ECONIMICAL alternative power do we have NONE. Candle became nearly obsolete when Kerosen was produced safely & economically, Yes Kerosene went nearly obsolete AFTER electrical lights became economical enough for the average man. But we did NOT subsidize one till the other became available.

          • Pablo Jones

            Well in roughly 300 years when we run out of coal.we will have to cross the path.

            My issues is that one is unhealthy and the other that is worse is stated to be a medical miracle.

    • Bob Dobbs

      good thing you can’t eat it or condense it to the essential oils and then vaporize it thereby reducing the particulates altogether or so that it is only the active ingredient.

      • Pablo Jones

        Do you think the prolegalization crowd would be happy if just edibles and oils were approved? The majority of marijuana is consumed by smoking.

        Again as others have stated. Do they want it for medical purposes or do they just want it legalized?

  • oldruss

    These ballot petitions require an enormous number of petition circulators, especially as petitions require signatures from each separate county in Ohio, if I’m not mistaken. An ad hoc group like the Ohio Rights Group cannot do this on their own, and it has nothing to do with a lack of ambition. Let me suggest that the Ohio Rights Group ask for help from college students across Ohio. A well organized campaign enlisting all the public four-year and two-year colleges and universities, and also all the private schools too, would get you a small army of petition circulators.

  • golfingirl

    Let’s be honest here….it is not about the legalization of “medical” marijuana, it is about the legalization of marijuana, period!

    Maybe they couldn’t get enough signatures, because most people simply don’t want it.

    • oldruss

      Apparently Colorado and Washington are ahead of the rest of us. And, twenty-two states in all, together with the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana.

      • Pablo Jones

        And what is the medically proved benefit of marijuana besides increasing ones appetite? Think carefully and actually read the studies first, not just what people say about the studies.

        • TruthWhisperer

          Inflammation and its interaction with your CB2 receptors. CB1 is what makes you feel the effects.

          • Pablo Jones

            I feel like a broken record on this. Medical studies have shown it has anti-inflammatory properties in vitro. That means when applying it to a dish of cells the inflammation goes down. Studies involving live subjects the results are not so promising. Isolating the molecule and giving it to test subjects animals and people have resulted in minimal benefit and higher doses does not improve the result.

            Getting high masks the symptoms it doesn’t reduce anything. You can make the same case that drinking alcohol reduces the pain from arthritis as well. This is why people say the pills don’t work as well as smoking or ingesting marijuana.

          • TruthWhisperer

            Yet you post not a single citable source that is peer reviewed.

            So of course it sounds like a broken record.

            You make a claim

            I ask for proof

            You provide no proof.

            You make another claim I ask for proof.

            You offer no proof.

            like a broken record

          • Pablo Jones

            The proof is in nearly every study on the benefits of marijuana.


            Dr. Manuel Guzman did a study on marijuana and cancer. About half of his paper sites other studies that have been done (you usually hear there are over 20,000 studies done on marijuana, most are meta studies, studies on other studies). Then he goes and talks about marijuana’s effect on cancer and ends in a standard comment that most studies make. “Further basic and preclinical research on cannabinoid anticancer properties is required.”

          • HankKwah

            And you babble and lie and deny. Like a rerun, you repeat and repeat and repeat and become more annoying everytime you babble about nothing.

            It’s funny how you demand a “citable source”, but never provide any yourself. You never have anything to defend, you only attack, and poorly at that. And you continue to deny that your account was blocked/dismantled/banned. You have no credibility here. None.

          • golfingirl

            He is the “all-knowing Sockpuppet!”

            He has to reference nothing, since he knows everything.

            How dare you challenge his intellectual credibility.

            In his often used words….”are you a 4th grader?”

          • Starryeyes63

            LOL…. He is still at it.

          • golfingirl

            Ignore the “sock puppet”

          • Don Mills

            Masks the symptoms? Show me the study that makes that claim. Speaking of broken records you are starting to sound like one.

          • Pablo Jones

            That is essentially the whole basis for medical marijuana. nausea and pain relief. Nothing is cured. Unless you are saying there are studies that show marijuana is curing something. If so please post a link to the study. (I actually read through them.)

            Smash your leg with a sledge hammer and you will be in pain. A shot or two of morphine and your pain (the symptom of your smashed leg) will be gone. But your leg will still be smashed.

            Smoking weed to easy cancer pain make the patient feel better but their cancer has not gone away. If they smoke for neurological issues again they will feel better but their neurological issues haven’t gone away.

          • HankKwah

            One of the reasons for medical marijuana in cancer patients that are getting chemo is that it gives them an appetite. They must continue to eat to give their body energy to help it fight. Most chemo patients have no appetite due to the treatment and their health deteriorates because they don’t eat.

            I’ve seen two stories where epilepsy in a child and a muscular affliction in a woman was eased considerably by smoking marijuana. The child was suffering 300 grand mal seizures a week. Awesome story:

            I couldn’t find the other story because I can’t remember what the woman suffered from. The affliction caused the muscles in her hand to tighten up, and then the muscles in her arm were so tight that it was held up close to her body. She also stuttered badly. After smoking, her stutter went away and her arm relaxed considerably.

          • Bill Love

            same thing for half a pill doctors prescribe all they do is mask it

          • Pablo Jones

            I don’t deny many pills just mask the symptoms, pain pills are a good example. But the point I was making was is it the compounds that directly reduce the pain or is it just because they are high. A psychosomatic response from the high that just makes them think they are better.

          • Bill Love

            the main reason cancer patients get medical marijuana is to help them get an appetite and help ease the pain which I would rather do than taking prescription pills

          • Pablo Jones

            What would you say off you had cancer and a doctor said. .. here is how we are going to treat your cancer. You are going to smoke your medication. And while smoking this medicine for cancer you will be inhaling more carcinogenics than from smoking cigarettes which cause cancer. In doing so you will have cravings top eat unhealthy junk food.

            It’s all about the high.

      • golfingirl

        But is it really for only “medical” purposes? That is what this petition states.

        In Colorado, the industry can now apply for recreational marijuana business licenses.

        The only requirement is that owners be Colorado residents.

        My point is simply to be honest about the intent here. I doubt it will stop at “medical” use, and the goal is for it to be available for recreation.

        Not saying it is wrong, but just tell us what the “end game” is.

        • TruthWhisperer

          Thats how I feel about legal Heroin

        • oldruss

          Colorado had medical marijuana before the voters passed a ballot initiative approving recreational sales. One does not imply the other; but of course, in two separate actions, the voters could approve medical marijuana, and then, subsequently, approve recreational marijuana. But as long as the voters approve each separately, what is your problem?

          • golfingirl

            I have no problem. It was not approved by the voters, which I see as a positive sign they do not want it in Ohio, even for “medical” purposes.

            Have a great July 4!

          • oldruss

            The ballot initiative has not yet been voted upon, period. The petition is being circulated. All that has transpired so far is that there are not enough signatures for THIS November’s ballot. The petition is still valid, as are all signatures so far collected, as long as those voters will not have moved by the time the petition is submitted.

      • golfingirl

        Ahead of the “rest of us.” I say they are behind us.

        You are for legalization, I oppose it.

        That’s OK…….we are free to disagree.

    • Jacqui Adkins

      That or not enough voters even know of this petition. I never even knew it was out there.

  • Arietta Sullivan

    oh well&life moves on.believe it or not there is people who smokes marijuana and didn’t care if it passed or not&it’s commonsense of why.

  • Fran Johnson

    John Pardee, you lead a great fight. I’m sorry that medical marijuana is not able to come up for a vote this November. As a breast cancer victim, marijuana helped me with my chemo treatments. No one gets it, until they are in the situation I was in, or as John’s son is in. Thank you John for leading a great initiative in Ohio!!!

  • Mark B

    If Marijuana was not the Polices cash cow then It would of been legal a long time ago.

    • Pablo Jones

      Cash cow? So on one hand we have people saying each year billions of dollars is spent on the war on drug (millions on marijuana alone). And on the other hand marijuana is a cash cow.

      • TruthWhisperer

        Thats because the Reagan Administration was Dead wrong.

        • Pablo Jones

          So which is it? Under current law is marijuana a cash cow or a cash burden?

          • Matthew Baldauf

            Both! A burden on tax dollars, a cash cow for the private prisons

          • Pablo Jones

            Well the comment was in reference to the police. You could also say it is a cash cow to the dealers.

  • Peter Aldrich

    YES!…..Now potheads will still have to buy ILLEGALLY…..which is the way it should be!

  • lipstickbabe

    I am 60 yrs. old, have MS and smoke pot. The benefits for me are relaxing my leg stiffness. I wear a leg brace, use a cane & a scooter for long distances. Pot is a mind altering drug so for me it is a good antidepressant. The UK did a study a couple yrs. ago they found it slows down your ammune system. People with MS have over active ammune systems. The study claims people who smoke pot having MS have fewer relapses & do better than people who don’t. I don’t care if it is legal it is cheaper to buy it off the streets. Discuss this with all your healthy friends and all it comes down to is an issue.

  • Chan

    Wonder where they were collecting signatures?

  • Aaron Weaver

    “The younger Pardee, who now grows marijuana in California, described himself previously as a “medical refugee.”

    - That statement is absolute BS. I was growing with Jason in California earlier this year and all he was doing was getting baked out of his gourd, driving like a complete idiot, acting like he was some sort of gangsta, and growing product infested with Powdery Mildew and Aphids and selling it to a dispensary that dealt mostly with Cancer patients.

    That’s the son of the guy you want to lead the fight for Medical in Ohio?? How about instituting some clauses that producers need to test their product for impurities if this is all claimed to be “medical?”

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for legalization, but if you’re going to claim “medical” but being distributing product riddled with mycotoxins and other impurities, you will be doing your medical patients a massive disservice equivalent to malpractice.